Sunday Special - The Hound Of Heaven ....07 Feb 2010

Posted at 12:10:05 Hrs. IST on Feb 07, 2010

 Sunday Special - The Hound Of Heaven ....07 Feb 2010

Dr. Desiraj Dhairyam, the famous Psychotherapist, whose Mental Institute and Clinic near Madras has achieved International reputation was the head of the Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation, in Madras City. He attained His Feet at Madras on the 24th day of February, 1976. The day previous to his death, he wrote this article on his experience of Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba and His supreme Compassion, which insists on liber­ating the entangled individual, however recalcitrant or rejective the person might be. He refers to the working of this Compassion, as 'pursuit' by the 'Hound of Heaven', immortalised in the poem of that name by the great mystic, Francis Thompson. The poet describes in that symbolic song, how he fled Him down the arches of his years, how he hid from Him under running laughter and sped from Him up vistaed hopes, but, how with unhurrying chase and majestic instancy, He pursued him and clasped him close, assured him, "Ah, fond­est, blindest, weakest, I am He whom thou seekest.” Dr. Dhairyam must have had a vision of the truth of this experience that Thompson has immortalised, for, he was drawn by the prolific Grace of Bhagawan into the Sai Circle of Love and Light.

The article is a Testament of Faith, a Litany, a Document of Devotion that Dr. Dhairyam has left for each of us fleeing from the Feet of the Lord, little knowing that we are the ones He is seeking to save, sustain and gather into His Loving Fold.

Readers are invited to partake of the inspiration, he imparts and the hope of fulfillment he implants, in the heart, by the transparent authenticity of his story.

The poem, 'The Hound of Heaven' by Francis Thompson, has fascinated me from my youthful days. Now that I look back through the fifty odd years of my life I feel all the more strongly how the Hound of Heaven has pursued me, in spite of my best efforts to elude being hunted down.

I have never wanted to be a 'religious' man, nor do I really feel the need even now. During my seven years in the United States of America, I was an adherent of the philo­sophy of 'humanism' which is my belief even now, with an important and vital difference. In earlier days, I embraced the easy and rosy path of Epicureanism: 'Eat, drink, and be merry, for, tomorrow you die.' 'You came into the world will‑nilly; you are at the mercy of events and death is not in your hands. Take the cash in hand and live life to the lees'.

Providence had been extremely good to me. Born in moderate luxury, whatever was desired came in easy. In the States, the climax of self‑satisfaction was reached with affluence and a good reputation in my profession and life was a round of parties and gaiety. To give an example: It was a Saturday night, frolic till 4 a.m. After consuming a full bottle of whisky, I drove back thirty miles, in the pre‑dawn. I had run into an island in the traffic and passed out. At seven in the morning, I was woken up by a policeman. "I had driven back from an all‑night party, Officer.” "Lucky Guy,” replied the Con­stable, enviously. Stretching myself indo­lently in the car the world seemed a wonder­ful place. I recalled Robert Browning's words, "The snail is on the thorn, the bird is on its wings, and all is right in God's Heaven.” Thus, the road of drunken‑ness, licentious‑ness etc., seems paved with sweet­ smelling roses, fun and song, until self­-destruction sets in, insidiously.

The Hound of Heaven was, ever, pressing me. Life could have been, so easily a total wreck, addicted to evil habits. God saw to it that bad friendships wrong ways of thought and action were out of my path at right moment, in spite of my desperate efforts at continuance. Productive and constructive work was subtly substituted, leading to the constructive fulfillment of my inner need. God was showing me the way to Him through a simplified humanistic philosophy of life. This way of life asserts: "There may be a God; there may not be a God. The question is not important. Do good and be good. Actualise your inner potential as a full human being and thus improve the quality of life for yourself and others.” I belonged to a number of Orga­nisations of humanism. They helped. Yet, the important ingredient was missing; "where is the stimulus, the motivation, to be good, unless it wells up from the Brother­hood of man and the Fatherhood of God?" In another way too, the Hound of Heaven has been protecting my very physical exi­stence. From early infancy, I was subject to constant ill‑health. Only light intellectual work was planned for me. At 12 years, my heart stopped and I was given up as lost. My doctor‑father was beside me and sudden­ly, I revived. I have been through a dozen deaths. At 18, learning to pilot a plane I had two narrow escapes. Once, I was lost in the clouds and was given up as lost when other planes could not find me; miracu­lously, I rediscovered the airport and landed safe. On another occasion, I made such a bad landing that the Chief Instructor said by any reason, I should have crashed.

In the U. S. A., in that fast‑moving country, the very first month, as a `green hour', a well paid job as chauffeur to a salesman touring the camps attracted me. Untrained in driving powerful cars, I drove all night on the super‑highway, at 120 M.P.H. Various accidents occurred and yet, I was saved miraculously, from major crash. At one stretch, driving with a friend at 60 M.P.H., we hit a tree and were thrown out and escaped with merely a few scratches. The Hound of Heaven was constantly behind me.

Even in my career, my path was diverted in spite of my best efforts to go by different routes. I was accepted in the Air Force during the war days; but was luckily in­validated due to an eye defect. Similarly, I got out of being an Officer in the Army. After delving into various studies, and occu­pations, by a round‑about route, I got my training as a clinical psychologist /psycho­therapist. I was all set to live permanently in U.S.A.

Success came my way, quickly‑monetarily, professionally and socially. Looking back, I now know that the virus of rot was settling in me and my Immortal soul was in jeo­pardy. Then, a tragedy—the sudden demise of my beloved and saintly father—jolted me out of that contingency. I had to come back to Madras, and develop my father's Institution, along my lines.

Running the psychotherapy centre has proved to be very fulfilling to me. It is immensely satisfying to attend to persons with mental illnesses of various kinds—drug and alcohol addicts, and persons having emotional problems in work, marriage or in other inter‑personal relationships. Only an all‑loving and personal God, interested in the individual, unmindful of demerits, weak­ness and sinfulness, can pass them over, protect and chart the course.

The 'Hound of Heaven' had done with its subtle pursuit. He came out, in the open, in His relentless tracking. In 1960, I married a lady who had known Swami for 12 years. I had no need for God; but, to oblige her, I undertook the journey to Puttaparthi, the last part, by bullock cart. As Bhagawan often says, devotees are 'poles', to contact new 'poles' for the transmission of His Divine charge. I was the 'new pole', and, His Presence charged me with the current of His Divinity.

Swami personally directed our life at every turn, ever consoling and sustaining and guiding, during four years, of vexatious litiga­tions. It is needless to detail His all‑encompassing Love and guidance to each and every one of us. It is as if the Universal Brahman abhors the seeming separation of the indivi­dual 'Jivi' and perpetually seeks to clear the `Maya' of duality.

Two recent Personal Interventions are worth mentioning: I had gone to see Bhaga­wan at Hyderabad. The Raja of Venkatagiri and myself were returning by the night plane to Madras. The Caravelle, while taking off, hit a buffalo. Its head and shoulders were torn from the rest of the body and got jammed into the landing gear, which got jammed. Emergency was announced. We circled the airport till the petrol was exhaus­ted and landed without crashing, in spite of the brakes having failed. The Raja of Venkatagiri and I rushed back to the Mandir and saw Swami at 5 a.m. Swami passed off this incident with a smile.

Again, at the recent visit to Puttaparthi, two days ago, I was wracked with overwhelming chest pain. (Here, I must mention that Swami had saved me from a heart attack in 1966, at Ooty, of which I have written elsewhere) This time at Parthi, I could not move a step because of the pain. As I stood outside the room at West Prasa­nthi, Swami came out on His usual 'tour of inspection' of the 'work' in progress. Casually, but, most unusually, He asked me to accompany Him. We went round for nearly half a mile.

That evening, as I was seated for Baba's Darshan, I told Mr. Achuthanandam (our State President) about the pain, expecting anything to happen, any moment. Bhaga­wan called us both for an interview. We heard a long discourse from Bhagawan and I was giving rapt attention. At the end of the interview, I told Swami of the pain, and Bhagawan laughed it away.

Next morning, we drove non‑stop to Madras. That night at 1 A.M., intense pain woke me up and I was rushed to the hospital. After the tests, the doctor said, my heart was normal and that it was only bronchial asthma. Yet, he said puzzled, "You had isccaemia of the heart, 5 years ago. You don’t have it now. Take it easy,” I said to myself, "May be, the isccaemia of the heart was not only 5 years ago, but, also 5 hours ago.”

This has been a personal account. It has not been written to highlight the 'unique­ness' or the 'special' Providence of God, but, to stress the theme of the 'Hound of Heaven'. The Hound pursues, tracks down, and captures every Jiva, in its own unique way, according to the needs, the pecu­liarities and potential of the Jiva. Bhagawan draws people by the millions, because in each and every case, He pursues and brings the person to His fold.

I am not a philosopher or a religious man well versed in the religious texts. For them, special paths may be necessary. But, as Bhagawan said, "To find God is easy and simple.” I find it so. "Surrender to the God calling you. His Grace will encompass you, ennoble you, and enable you to reach equilibrium of the mind, Samadhi.”

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